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Legislative Review Continues

Today’s column is the second installment of our annual review of legislation affecting community associations in Florida. Last week, we reviewed changes to the condominium laws involving official records, websites, financial reports, meeting notices and term limits. Today continues a review of new condominium laws, effective July 1, 2018.

Condominium Recalls

  • The board is required to hold a meeting within 5 full business days after the adjournment of the unit owner recall meeting or within 5 full business days after service of the written recall agreement. The board members shall be recalled effective immediately upon the conclusion of the board meeting, provided that the recall is facially valid.
  • If the board determines at the conclusion of the board meeting that the recall is not facially valid, the unit owner representative may file a petition pursuant to s. 718.1255 challenging the board’s determination on facial validity.
  • A board member who has been recalled may file a petition pursuant to s. 718.1255 challenging the validity of the recall, and the petition may challenge the facial validity of the written agreement or ballots filed or the substantial compliance with the procedural requirements for the recall.
  • If the arbitrator determines the recall was invalid, the petitioning board member shall immediately be reinstated and the recall is null and void.
  • A board member who is successful in challenging a recall is entitled to recover reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs from the respondents.
  • The arbitrator may award reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs to the respondents if they prevail, if the arbitrator makes a finding that the petitioner’s claim is frivolous.

NOTE:  The law now requires the recall to be “facially valid,” although it does not define the term “facially valid.” Presumably, a written agreement signed by less than a majority of the owners would not be “facially valid.” The new law also clarifies that the challenge to a recall must come from either: (1) a recalled board member if the board determines that the petition is facially valid; or (2) the unit owner representative if the board determines that the recall is not facially valid.

Condominium Material Alterations and Substantial Additions

  • Amends the procedure for approving material alterations or substantial additions in those cases where the declaration does not specify the procedure for approval of material alterations or substantial additions.
  • A vote of the unit owners must be taken before the material alterations or substantial additions are commenced.

Electric Vehicles in Condominiums

  • Creates a new provision stating that a declaration of condominium or restrictive covenant or the board of administration of a condominium association may not prohibit a unit owner from installing an electric vehicle charging station within the boundaries of the unit owner’s limited common element parking area, under certain circumstances.
  • The electric vehicle charging station must be for an electric vehicle, as defined in relevant Florida Statutes.
  • The installation may not cause irreparable damage to the condominium property.
  • The electricity for the electric vehicle charging station must be separately metered and payable by the unit owner installing such charging station.
  • The unit owner who is installing the charging station is responsible for the costs of installation, operation, maintenance, and repair, including, but not limited to, hazard and liability insurance.
  • The association may require the unit owner to: comply with bona fide safety requirements, comply with reasonable architectural standards adopted, engage the services of a licensed and registered electrical contractor or engineer familiar with the installation and core requirements of an electric vehicle charging station and provide a certificate of insurance naming the association as an additional insured.

Next week, we will continue with a review of new laws affecting cooperatives and homeowners’ associations.

Joe Adams is an attorney with Becker & Poliakoff, P.A., Fort Myers. Send questions to Joe Adams by e-mail to jadams@beckerlawyers.com. Past editions may be viewed at floridacondohoalawblog.com.

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